Friday, April 14, 2017


This is really, really good, except for this unfortunate list item: "b. When using art/reading as a pull to attract students, the STEM content gets watered downed."

The STEM acronym Science Technology Engineering & Math came to the forefront of society, not by the profession of education, but by businesses concerned about the lack of STEM graduates. Business data analysis predicted that the STEM job fields did not have replacement values for baby boomers leaving the fields. There was a drop in students choosing to study STEM (especially technology & engineering) beyond even replacement values. This raised concerns in many of the business industries.

The early 2000’s many researchers showed an increased need for STEM studies. In 2009 President Obama highlighted this in the Educate to Innovate initiative. Business collaborated with Education and thus the popularization of the STEM acronym arrived.

Since then tools such as FIRST robotics, NSTA science standards including engineering, Tufts Novel Engineering program, PBS Design Squad, etc. have informed the public and professional educators about the need for STEM. Business organizations such as Boeing, Monsanto, Master Card, and many more with a need for graduates in STEM, have tried to find ways to support the education professionals.

As curriculum was developed by professional educators, some started to incorporate art and reading into the acronym. At first this makes perfect sense. After much thought and analysis on; “Do I want to change how I present within the Professional Education Communities?” I’ve come to my own a conclusion.

I choose STEM.


1.      I DO NOT want to lose my art/music studios/labs/professional educators. In an effort to economize schools/districts. My fear is that art/music departments will be targeted as unnecessary.

2.      I DO NOT teach art/music. I may use an artist, such as Calder or Da Vinci, to study design/engineering processes in mechanics, kinetics, etc.  At times, I collaborate with the Professional Art Educator and they will teach the history & art techniques of the artist.

3.      I DO use the Design Engineering Processes like the art & reading professional educators. The Creativity is the same in all curriculums, not the content.

4.      As stated previously, the acronym was first coined to meet the need for people in STEM careers.

We are not facing a shortage of people within Liberal Art careers.
a.      There is an argument that the ART may bring people into the STEM fields who may not otherwise have considered them. My concern; “Is it false advertising?”
While it certainly can help your understanding of anatomy to study art when becoming a doctor, it is not a requirement. You do however, need to study, Science Technology, Engineering & Math to become a doctor. Likewise, a liberal art student it is not required to study advanced science, technology, engineering and math to complete studies.

b.      When using art/reading as a pull to attract students, the STEM content gets watered downed.
Repeatedly through discussions with my professional colleagues at the university level they have found that they have students who do not realize what it takes to become, for example, an engineer. Students are not prepared, or understand, that they have to take calculus, physics, etc. They then struggle to stay in the fields and many leave.

For those who use the STEAM & STREAM acronym I ask that you consider what the objective is in your choice. I am asking that you analyze, as I did, why you use the acronym.
As a professional educator I believe we should leave the STEAM, STREAM acronym as a marketing tool for libraries, museums, retail advertisers, etc. It is for those who do not need to concern themselves with the long term learning content objectives.

Education needs a strong STEM Content powered by “C”- Creativity.